Are you picking your grapes at the right time?

Here is a short video for you.

Picking grapes at just the right time will ensure good wine and eating quality. It will also ensure an excellent flavour.

Notice the use of a refractometer, this is the quickest way you really know what the % suger is in the the grapes. Sugar content in grapes can be measured several different ways. Another handy tool that every winemaker should have is a hydrometer. A hydrometer is an instrument used for determining the specific gravity of liquids. It is usually made of glass and consists of a cylindrical stem and a bulb weighted with mercury or shot to make it float upright. The liquid is poured into a tall jar, and the hydrometer is gently lowered into the liquid until it floats freely.
The point where the surface of the liquid touches the stem of the hydrometer is noted.

A clear plastic tube that is filled with grape juice. The sugar content of the juice is measured in brix, and is determined by the hydrometer that is placed into the tube and floats in the grape juice. Take several bunches of grapes from different parts of a row and squeeze them in a plastic bag. 17 brix to 23 brix is what you are looking for, but some winemaker prefer to harvest no later than 17 brix – it is believed that this ensures a better wine flavour. It is up to you to experiment witn different brix levels, to be sure at what brix your grapes should be picked.

Here is what a refractometer looks like

You can purchase a refractometer online from

Have a grape (great) day


Hello grape growers!

Do you know why and how you should remove lateral shoots on a young vine?
No? Okay, then this post will help you allot.
Why do you need to remove lateral shoots?
When you look at the picture below, you will notice the vine looks like a shrub with one shoot that is noticeably stronger than the rest. This is the shoot you will want to train to reach the trellis wire. Now, in order to grow this shoot (training shoot) as fast as possible, you will have to somehow channel all available energy to that shoot.
To do just that, you will have to remove all other growing points that compete for nutrients on the grape vine. In the picture below, you will see how I have removed all lateral shoots from this vine and left only the strongest, best developed shoot.
If you do this the correct way, your vine will soon look something like the following picture.
This is an ongoing process during the first year of training your grape vine and should be done weekly.
Have a grape (great) day my friends!

Powdery Mildew On Grapes

I have received numerous question about grapes drying out before they are ready for harvest or that pea-size berries crack open. So, I have decided to write an article about Powdery Mildew and also include some of the pictures send by them – enjoy!

Wondering what the white powder-like mildew on grapes is? It is called oidium and it is caused by a fungus called Uncinula necator. This fungus only attacks grape plants and a few of their related species. It is safe to say that it is a widespread fungal disease that can cause total crop loss and or reduced fruit quality, wine quality and vine growth. Oidium’s severity will vary from season to season but it does require treatment each and every season.
The powdery mildew can be seen on all parts of the grape and vine. The foliage, fruit, flower parts and the canes. The first place that you are going to see it is usually on the undersides of the basal leaves. At first, it appears as a whitish or greenish white powdery patch. You may notice mottling or a distortion on the severely infected leaves. Curling and withering may also be noted.

The lateral shoots are incredibly susceptible to the fungus. The blossoms if infected may not turn to fruit. The berry is most susceptible to being infected in the first three to four weeks after bloom. The rest, though, the shoots, petioles and other parts are susceptible throughout the season.

If the infection takes place early, it can reduce the size of the berry and decrease the sugar content as well. You will also notice that the infected berries will have what appears to be a netlike pattern on them. They may crack open and dry up or just never ripen. On the canes, you can see old infections because they will show up as brown areas. As the fungus grows on the grapes and vines and begins to produce spores you will see that the tissue that is infected with have an ash grey powdery look.

Although a bit out of focus, you can clearly see

the brown areas on the shoots and stems of the grapes

The organic grower is going to take into consideration things such as: the location of the vineyard, design of vineyard, row orientation, choice of variety of grape (due to susceptibility factors), canopy structure, irrigation, water and nutrition and shoot removal done early in the season.

There are chemical treatments that can be used as well to help treat and get rid of the powdery mildew. The application of fungicides should start with early shoot growth and continue until bloom. It is important to establish good control early so that the disease is prevented from becoming the powdery mildew epidemic of the summer. Fungicides that are used most often include sulphur, Nova, Lance, Sovran, Flint or Milstop.

Doing a dormant spray of lime sulphur is very effective when it comes to suppressing any over wintering population of the mildew. Applying in the early spring before the buds break will kill the powdery mildew, covering any dormant vines is very important. Then there is the post-harvest spray. These are also beneficial, and the date of your harvest will help you determine the necessity to keep foliage and canes protected.

There are some cultural things that you can do to help control the disease and possibly prevent it. Make sure that you are selecting proper rootstocks, training systems and fertility. Make sure that you are practicing timely sucker control. Cut the canes back close to the top wire of the trellises. Make sure that you are removing leaves so that bunch rot does not occur, this allows the fungicides to better cover the clusters. You can also choose one of the very few grapes that are not susceptible to this fungus to grow the grapes that are not susceptible such as Auxerrois, Malvoisie, Melon, Pinot Gris and Semillon.

Choose carefully, plan wisely and spray at the appropriate times to make sure that the powdery mildew does not attack and destroy your crop.

For a Complete Grape Growing Course, join the Complete Grape Growing System Today for only $29!

What is a spur?

How to prune a grape vine spur

I often get the question: “Danie, how do I prune a spur?”

Without knowing how to prune a spur (short bearer) the correct way, you can spoil your potential crop – did you know that? So, I went out into my vineyards and took some really nice pictures that will explain how to prune a spur.

But before I explain how to prune a spur, you need to know that a grape vine ONLY produce grapes on one-year-old shoots that was pruned on two-year-old canes and not on cordons (arms) or in most cases water shoots (a shoot that developed on 3 year and older wood).

In the picture below, you can see spur that was pruned last winter no.1 (while the grape vine was dormant). During the past growing season, two shoots developed from that spur; no. 2 and no. 3. These two shoots were the bearers during this year’s harvest.

Although they are dormant at this stage, they are still alive and needs to be pruned in order to produce more grapes next season. Inside those little buds you seen in the pictures, are already formed grape bunches – off course you cannot see them with the naked eye, but believe me, they are there! That is why I always hammer on allowing enough sunlight into your grape vine – this helps develop those little grape clusters inside the buds.

OK, so if you look at the picture again, you will notice two red lines. This is where you will prune in order to have a new spur.

In the picture below, I have pruned the old spur back and as you can see, a new spur was pruned with two buds that will develop shoots the next growing season. The shoots that will develop from this spur will bear grapes next season.

If you understand what I am explaining to you, it will make sense that spur I pruned in the above picture, will become an old spur (no 1) next year – during dormancy, after next year’s growing season.

I hope that you now have a better understanding of what a spur really is.

For further, and more in depth pruning techniques, as well as cane pruning techniques, I recommend The Complete Grape Growers Guide.

Have a grape (great) day my friends!


The Grape Guy

Glen’s vineyard

Hello grape growers!

I am so excited, I just had to put this on my blog! Here is a blog that shows you a really great looking vineyard!

Glen from Slovenia bought the Complete Grape Growers Guide in February this year. He planted his 403 grape vines in April and trained them with the help of my e-book and just look at the results! Excellent grape vine training.

Notice the development of the grape vines and how he removed the lateral shoots exactly like it should have been done. Almost every single grape vine has grown more or less the same length and they all look very, very healthy! This is what I call a complete vineyard.

Glen, I personally want to congratulate you with a well developed vineyard and this shows you what can be done with a little effort and the right knowledge!

Here is a quote from his email:” Your book seems to be invaluable, I only planted my 403 vines, well, started on the 18th of april (quite Late really) and all have taken, Most of them 98% are between half a meter and a meter high (See pic P6180008) they seem to be growing like wild fire using your first year pruning technics.”

Want to grow grape vines that look like Glen’s vineyard? The Complete Grape Growers Guide is your answer!

Happy Grape Growing my friends


PS: To get your copy of the Complete Grape Growers Guide, click here.

How to split a grape vine

Have you ever wondered how to split a grape vine to grow in two different directions? Now, you may ask: “Why should I need to split a grape vine?”.

In most trellis systems, somewhere, on one of the trellis wires, you will have to stop the vertical growth of the grape vine and stimulate lateral growth, in order to cover the all the trellis wires. When your young grape vine reach the point where you want to make the cordons or “arms” of the grape vine, you will have to somehow stop the grape vine from growing in length, so that the lateral shoots or site shoots will develop.
These side shoots will be used to make the the cordon of the grape vine and will therefore be tied on one of the trellis wires.
When your grape vine reach the trellis wire where you plant to develop the framework or cordon of the vine, you will have to remove the vertical growing point of the vine. When you remove this growing point, all the nutrients and energy of the grape vine is directed to the other growing point of the vine, namely the lateral or side shoots.

This grape vine reached the trellis wire where
the cordons will be developed.

Remember, when you remove lateral shoots from a young grape vine, always leave all the lateral shoots in an area of about 6 inches below the trellis wire, where the cordon will be developed. After you have decided what shoots will be used to develop the cordon, you can remove the unwanted lateral shoots.

This in only on simple method to develop the framework of the grape vine. The Complete Grape Growers Guide will teach you how to develop and train the grape vine from the day it is planted, until your fouth year of growing grapes.

Opening the grape vine canopy

I want to share with you a trick I use to improve the ripening & coloring of my grapes.

When you look at picture below, you will notice a gap in the growth, between the two rows (where the two slanted poles are tied together). This picture was taken at about 300mm (+- 12 inches) shoot length and is in the middle of the growing season – about two months after bud break.

In the following picture you will see that the vines covered the whole trellis system, closing the gap there was in the previous picture – we call it “the vines take hands”. As you can imagine, allowing the vines to take hands, will decrease the airflow and sunlight penetration into the vines. By now, you should know that a poorly ventilated vine is more susceptible to diseases and therefore you will have to prune away some shoots to allow a the air and sunlight into the vine.

I normally open up the vines when I see the first signs of coloring. When grapes turn color, the sugar concentration will increase dramatically over the next few week, and it is a known fact that grapes with higher sugar, will get less sunburn damage.
By opening up the canopy, you will not only improve the airflow, but the sunlight will also penetrate the vine, improving the coloring and ripening of the grapes as well. So, if you have problems with poor coloring, opening the canopy will definitely improve the coloring of your grapes.

How to open up the canopy.

When you look at the last picture, you will notice that I pruned the vines to open up the canopy. One very important thing to remember, is that you must never prune away shoots you want to use for dormant pruning during the following dormant season, especially if you cane prune. Remember, that if you cane prune, you need canes of at least 10 – 12 buds long, therefore you will have to make sure you leave enough shoot-length.

When you prune away these green shoots, make sure you remove them from the canopy!

How To Grow Grapes In Your Backyard

How to Grow Grapes – Here is a short summary of how to grow grapes in your backyard.

This summary of how to grow grapes will set you on the right tracks when choosing the site, how to prune, what varieties to grow and so forth.  This is only a summary of how to grow grapes, and not a complete guide – there is so much more to growing grapes than simply planting and pruning a grape vine.  If you want to learn how to grow grapes, then start here and broaden you search.  The my grape vine blog is for on “how to grow grapes” articles – enjoy!

A summary of how to grow grapesHow to Grow Grapes – The History

Drinking wine is a pleasure that has been enjoyed since almost 4000BC. The science of viticulture, or grape cultivation, began with the need to domesticate wild vines. Viticulturists needed to breed domestic plants with higher fruit yields, since wild grapes invest little energy in fruit production. Wild grapes were also dioecious, meaning that there are male and female versions of the plant. Early viticulturists selected a rare mutant vine with perfect flowers (that is, functional male and female components) to ensure all their vines bore fruit. Today many varieties of common species of grapes are cultivated and used for wine production and that is why so many people from all around the globe want to learn how to grow grapes.

How to Grow Grapes – Soil preparation

If you really want to succeed in how to grow grapes, then you need to select the correct planting site. Grapes can grow in a wide variety of soil types and pH ranges, certain conditions induce better growth and yields. First, grapes prefer well-drained and slightly acidic soil. The best pH is typically between 6.0 to 6.5, but grapes will grow in soils with pH ranging from 5.5 to 7.5. If your soil is a little basic, you can add in sulfur or ammonium sulphate to decrease the soil pH. Ideally, grapes should be planted on a south-facing hillside, although in a home garden you may not have this luxury. You should choose a site in your garden that receives full sunlight – grapes do not like the shade. You’ll need to ensure that the soil at your selected site is worked over well before planting to remove any perennial weeds. Addition of peat moss or manure to the site will also help to improve soil quality.

How to Grow Grapes – Planting methods

The way you plant your grape vines is really important for their health and productivity. Vines need to be planted approximately eight feet apart in rows that are between eight and ten feet apart. If you are planting on a sloped site, ensure that the rows run perpendicular to the slope. If your site is exposed to a strong prevailing wind, orientate your rows in the direction of the wind to minimize damage.It’s preferable to choose one- or two-year-old, dormant, bare-root vines from a reputable provider. Soak the roots of the vines for several hours prior to planting. When planting, ensure that the hole is slightly larger than the root system of the plant and that the vines are set at a depth equivalent to the one they grew in at the nursery. If your vines are grafted, ensure that the grafting union is approximately two inches above the soil. Once you have planted the vines, you’ll need to remove all but the most vigorously growing cane and cut this back to just one or two buds.

How to Grow GrapesTraining your grape vines

To facilitate cultivation, harvesting, pest control and to maximize yield, grapes are trained to a specific system. There are many different training systems, however the single curtain and four- or six-cane Kniffin systems are most suitable for home gardeners. The four-cane Kniffin system trains four fruiting canes to two trellis wires whilst the six-cane Kniffin system trains six canes to three wires. The six-cane system is best for less vigorous grape varieties. Using the single curtain system, the main trunk of the vine is attached to a horizontal wire approximately six feet above the ground. Two cordons (extensions of the main trunk) grow along the wire to the left and the right of the trunk, with five or six fruiting canes on each cordon.

How to Grow Grapes – Pruning

One very important aspect of how to grow grapes is pruning.  Annual pruning of your vines will be necessary to ensure optimum yield and sufficient vine growth to produce next year’s crop. The best time for pruning is late Winter or early Spring, during the vine’s dormant phase. You’ll need to keep a few things in mind when pruning; fruit is borne on one-year old canes, the most productive of which are between 0.25 and 0.30 inches in diameter. The most productive buds occur in the middle of the cane, so it is best to prune canes to between eight and 16 buds. New farmers may find the advice of an experienced viticulturist helpful.

How to Grow Grapes – Harvesting

Harvesting should occur when the grapes are fully ripe. Color isn’t always a reliable indicator of maturity, so taste-testing is essential! Cut the grape clusters from the vine with a sharp knife and handle the grapes by the stems. Grapes do not handle or store well, so enjoy the fruits of your labor as soon as possible!

This is only a summary of how to grow grapes. For a more complete program that will show you how to grow grapes in simple layman’s terms, and much more helpful explanation, you need the get YOUR copy of the Complete Grape Growing System – Click Here

Have a grape day and thanks for sharing this “How To Grow Grapes” article on the social network for others to see.


The Grape Guy

Learn How To Grow Grapes Here

Grapes: Nutritional Value

Grapes are one of the most popular fruits in the United States, ranking sixth behind bananas, apples, watermelons, oranges and cantaloupe. Regardless of whether or not you choose red or white (also known as green) grapes, there is good evidence that grapes are good for you. Just one cup of grapes which, depending on the size of the grapes, equates to about eighteen grapes or 100g, will give you one of the five servings of fruit and vegetables that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you eat daily. Like most fruits, grapes are a rich source of vitamins and minerals that can contribute to a balanced, healthy diet.

In particular, a single serving of grapes offers you 176 milligrams of potassium and 13 milligrams of calcium. Potassium and calcium are both important in transmitting nerve impulses and are therefore necessary to maintain efficient nervous system function. A serving of grapes will also provide you with 9 milligrams of phosphorus, which is an integral part of nucleic acids – the building blocks of genetic material. Magnesium is also present in grapes, with a cup of grapes containing 4.6mg. This mineral is important for muscle contractions. There are trace amounts of iron and selenium in a serve of grapes – approximately 0.4 milligrams and 0.3 milligrams, respectively. Small amounts of zinc, manganese and copper can also be found in grapes.

You may have been advised to avoid fruits if you are on a diet, as they contain a lot of carbohydrates. This isn’t strictly true. A serving of grapes will set you and your diet back by about 69 calories – compare this to an equivalent weight of apple, which contains approximately 58 calories. Each 100g serving of grapes has 15.48 grams of sugar and a total of 18.1 grams of carbohydrate. Grapes are not particularly fatty – there’s 0.054 grams of saturated fat, 0.007 grams of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and 0.048 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The great news for those watching their cholesterol intake is that grapes are totally free of cholesterol. Grapes also offer approximately a gram of protein and 1.6 grams of dietary fiber, which is important for maintaining good digestive health.

One of the greatest advantages of fruits and vegetables is the high quantity of vitamins and minerals they contain. Grapes offer 10.8 milligrams of vitamin C and 92 international units of vitamin A. There’s about 0.19 milligrams of vitamin E in a regular serving of grapes, and 14.6 micrograms of vitamin K, which is essential for normative blood clotting. Grapes contain a good concentration of B vitamins; there’s 0.086 mg of vitamin B6, 0.07 milligrams of riboflavin (B2), 0.188 milligrams of niacin (B3) and 0.05 milligrams of pantothenic acid (B5). These B vitamins are critical to maintaining optimum cellular function, particularly in the metabolism of energy. You can obtain 3.6 micrograms of folate by eating a serve of grapes – this is important if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Grapes are also rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, flavones, geraniol, linalol, nerol and tannins. It is these antioxidants that scientists believe are responsible for protecting the body against many forms of cancer. Red grapes, in particular, contain a compound called resveratol, which has been demonstrated to reduce cholesterol and protect the heart. Fresh grape skin contains between 50 to 100 micrograms of resveratol per gram, depending on the variety of grape.

Both red and white wine contains resveratol, with red wine having a higher concentration because both the skins and grape flesh is fermented to produce the wine. Resveratol, obtained from the grapes used to make wine, is thought to be responsible for the keeping the incidence of heart disease in France low, despite the relatively high concentrations of animal fats found in the typical French diet. The antioxidant helps to lower the levels of cholesterol circulating in the body and hence reduces cholesterol deposition in the arteries. There is good evidence that regular consumption of red wine – approximately three or four glasses interspersed over a one-week period can have positive cardiac benefits.

Grapes can be dried to produce raisins, sultanas or currants. The dried versions of grapes also confer nutritional benefits. In particular, raisins have been shown to contain high quantities of boron, which is a mineral that has an important role in maintaining good bone health. Raisins also promote healthy gums and teeth, and can help to prevent against macular degeneration.

After researching the nutritional value of grapes, one wonders if the story of Johanna Brandt, and how she cured her stomach cancer isn’t true after all. If you want to know how she did that,

Grape Cure

Grape Cure

Click Here.

There are many reasons to enjoy grapes as a healthy and nutritious snack!

Have a healthy grape day my friend!

Bud break on grapes

I want to share with you a secret many grape growers overlook – and it is the effect bud break has on your grape vine.

What is bud break?

Bud break is when the buds on spurs and canes you pruned during winter (or early spring), breaks open and reveals the new growing point of the shoot that will develop from the bud. Depending on the variety, bud break starts about 2 – 3 weeks before the first growing point of shoots are visible.

Why is a strong, even bud break important?

During winter or early spring we prune our grape vines to form the structure of the vine. Another, even more important, reason we prune is to reduce the amount of buds on each grape vine for a smaller, higher quality grape crop. There are many theories on how many buds to keep per vine, but as a rule of thumb you can use the following method.

To determine the number of buds to leave, use the “30 plus 10” formula.

For the first pound of canes removed, leave 30 buds. For each additional pound, leave an additional 10 buds. For most the training systems, the maximum number of retained buds on a grapevine should be less than 60. As you can imagine, having buds that don’t sprout will reduce your crop size even more and can result in a too small crop, making it an uneconomical grape harvest.

The evenness of your harvest will be determined by the evenness of bud break. If you are a commercial grape grower, you want all your grapes in one vineyard, to be ready for harvest at the same time. This will reduce the amount of time spend in collecting the crop because you don’t have to visit the vineyard three or four times to pick all the fruit.

A strong bud break will not only increase ensure a decent crop size, but also make pruning next year much easier. Some grape varieties that is cane pruned, like Thompson, Crimson for example, tends to sprout more evenly and stronger at the last buds on the cane. The biggest problem grape growers have, when this happens, is that they will not find enough pruning wood next year, to retain the structure and amount of buds for a decent crop size.

Look at the picture from one of the My-Grape-Vine customers. This is a classical example of a grape vine sprouting strongly on the tips of the canes and the basal and first buds have a poor sprout percentage.

How to improve an even, strong bud break.

First of all, I want to share with you a theory I have. If you don’t have to cane prune – don’t cane prune. The only reason why you should can prune is when you grow a veriaty that is unfruitful – period! When you spur prune, you will have a much higher bud break %.

So, choosing your pruning method carefully – this will ensure a decent, sustainable crop, year after year AND prune the correct way.

There are lots of so called pruning secrets available on the Internet, but my pruning system I teach in the Complete Grape Growers Guide, has proven itself over the past decade to be the best and most effective way to prune.

The second theory I have is: Proper sunlight penetration.

A grape vine that is too compact (condensed) will overshadow the shoots and and buds during the growing season and as we all know by now, a grape vine needs sunlight to “ripen” the buds on the shoots. In other words; having a well ventilated, not too compact grape vine will improve the bud break percentage.

Now you may ask yourself the following question. “I have a variety that needs to be cane pruned, and is not too compact, BUT I still get a poor bud break percentage – what do I do?”

I have another trick up my sleeve – luckily!

And it is called: “Hydrogen cyanamide (Dormex)” – please note, it is not cyanide, but cyanamide

Applying Dormex to the grape vine’s buds, one month before bud break will significantly improve the bud break percentage and will also make bud break more even.

The concentrate of which it is applied is 3-5 liters (101 – 169 fluid ounces) per 100 liter (26.4 gallons) water for table grapes and 2 – 3 liter (67 – 101 fluid ounces) /100l water for wine grapes. Be sure to read the product label before applying Dormex.


Dormex irritates the skin, so wear proper gloves when you apply it.

If you live in an area where late frost is a problem, I would advise you to be careful. Why? Dormex will not only improve bud break, but it will advance bud break as well. Some grape growers claims to have advanced their sprouting date by up to 3 weeks. My personal experience tells me that id advance bud break by +- one week. So be careful not to advance the sprouting date of your grape vine by so much, that the danger of cold damage will become a bigger concern.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog, and I hope you understand now why an even and strong bud break is so important. You grape growing success depends on this!

For more proven theories, tricks and grape growing tips, you can get yourself the Complete Grape Growers Guide and grow your grape vine like a PRO!



The Grape Guy

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